Students share tips for a successful semester


Mia Wang/Iowa State Daily

During dead week, Parks Library is definitely the busiest place on campus. Students filter in and out all day trying to utilize the last bit of time to study before finals.

Sage Smith

Iowa State students have survived the first week of school, but it can be easy to get behind quickly as the homework assignments, quizzes and exams build up.

There are ways to stay organized and avoid the cluttered chaos of classes and getting a strong start to the semester is always a good idea. Scrolling through each class on Canvas is a great way to get prepared. Most classes will have all assignments listed and the syllabus will describe how the class is structured.

“Put all your exam dates in your calendar at the beginning of the semester,” said Jordan Golberg, junior in mechanical engineering. “That way you can plan out when you have to study. Also, I write out a checklist of all the things I need to do in a day just to stay on track.”

Writing exams and assignment due dates in a planner or typing them into Google Calendar can be a lifesaver. Some students use color codes in planners and for their notes during class to avoid mixing up material from different classes.

Technology can also be helpful to students, as they can set up notifications on their laptops and phones to remind themselves about important due dates.

Students can also write a list of responsibilities for each day. The list can act as a schedule and be motivation for students to be productive during the day so that they feel accomplished as they check off goals on the list.

Iowa State’s Academic Success Center helps students by providing several resources. For students struggling to manage their time and not procrastinate, the Academic Success Center has academic coaches available to meet with students to discuss options to improve their time management skills.

The Academic Success Center also has handouts for students who have a habit of procrastinating. Some of these handouts include “Top 15 Tips” and a flow chart for time management. 

While academic performance is top priority, it is important for students to set aside time to relax. After a busy week students can feel overwhelmed and burnt out.

“It’s okay to take mental breaks but don’t do that while you’re procrastinating,” said Madison Godfread, sophomore in agriculture business and animal science. “Work ahead and basically keep your nose clean. You’re here for an education, not to see how popular you can be.”

Attending events such as ISU Afterdark or joining a fun club can be ways for students to unwind and enjoy activities. A movie night at home is another great way to de-stress and spend time with friends.

Balancing school work and a personal life can be a challenge at first. Utilizing resources and asking for help from peers is the key to a successful semester.